Many authors use experiences from their life as a guide to their writing. It’s a way to express their feelings and emotions, and it’s something in which they can be passionate. Writers and authors think on a different level than anyone else. They are constantly thinking of different ideas for novels, poems or stories. The best writing comes from those who use their own lives as a basis for their writing. They know what to write about and how to describe it perfectly. The best thing about writing from experience, I think, is that, since it’s still a fictional story, you can have an idea about what you want to write about, but you’re still able to add the interesting and fun details you want to. I believe that Louisa May Alcott has written from her own life experiences.

In Eight Cousins, Rose Campbell’s father passed away and she went to live with two of her aunts and her uncle, closely surrounded by her seven male cousins, as well as their mothers. She was a sickly girl and the only cure her uncle could think of was to get active, whether it was considered ladylike or not. When the two first met, he immediately got her to be outside more and to spend a little less time thinking about her health. Alcott was perceived as a tomboy and would often play outside, climbing trees or running around. She had a boy neighbor, about her age, with whom she would often play. The two were almost inseparable for a while, and he was described by Alcott as the brother she always wanted.

Continuing in Eight Cousins, Rose befriended the maid of the household, Phebe, and eventually adopted her as her own sister. Rose believed in a good education, as did Alcott, and would teach Phebe all sorts of different school subjects on her own time. Rose was well educated in Latin and loved to read. She very much enjoyed school, and was extremely smart, though most of the young women in her time weren’t educated. Both Rose and Phebe looked forward to the times when they would get to study together. Phebe was never educated before, though she wished to be, and really appreciated Rose for teaching her.

“For women such as Alcott, the world in which they live included women who needed to move beyond the traditional domestic ideal.”(“Unsexed”) Rose was part of the family living in a house with a maid. She was expected to clean up after herself, as was everyone else, but she went beyond that, offering to cook or clean, even when the help wasn’t asked of her. She made sure she was educated and healthy, yet still humble at the same time. Rose always wanted to help. In Eight Cousins, it was prominently noted that once Rose went to live with her aunts, uncles, and cousins, there was a major improvement in her. “In an era when women had few options for earning money, Alcott determined to overcome her family’s poverty through her prolific writing.” (“Louisa” 3) Alcott’s family struggled when it came to money, but after moving several times, things got a little easier, especially when Alcott herself started making money on her works.

“In the later juvenile novel Rose in Bloom, the theme of women’s rights is interwoven throughout the lives of its characters.”(“Louisa” 3) Alcott never married, and part of the reason was that she didn’t want to give up her independence. This was an era where women weren’t given as much respect as men, and hardly had any freedom for themselves. Alcott was very much a pro-women’s rights advocate. She did everything she could to try and get a say in society. She joined clubs and groups, and protested against the treatment women were given.

“Alcott was always a strong advocate for social reforms including abolition, prison reform, and temperance, but her primary efforts were directed towards the cause of women’s suffrage.” (“Louisa” 3) In Rose in Bloom, Rose returned from a two year voyage overseas and decided that she was going to leave her mark in this world. She was a wealthy girl, so she used a lot of her money to open up homes for women and children in need. Rose too believed that women deserved an equal say in this world.

“Her juvenile stories emphasize self-sacrifice and devotion to duty.”(“Louisa” 2) “Such novels have remained extremely popular for over a century” (“Louisa” 1) Alcott was a classic writer and she used her writing as a way to speak up for herself. Both Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom can be considered almost auto-biographical, but her main story that related to her own life was Little Women, for which Alcott is most famous. Little Women was about four girls who went through their life experiencing different events along the way. When Alcott was writing, she received a request from her publisher to write a novel about a typical American girl. She was skeptical at first, but then agreed.

Alcott used herself, as well as her three sisters, as her inspiration for the four main characters. “The heroine of Little Women, for example, is a rebellious young woman who strives for independence and personal achievement as a writer, but ultimately modifies her dreams when she gets married- a fact that has caused this novel to be regarded as antifeminist by some critics.”(“Louisa” 1) Although not all of the things that happened in the book happened to her, many of the events did occur in her own life. “A prominent theme in much of Alcott’s fiction is the conflict experienced by women who must choose between individuality and the bonds of family responsibilities and social traditions.”(“Louisa” 1)

Alcott went beyond what was expected of her and chose to be an individual. She didn’t appreciate how women were treated, so she stood up for herself and used her books and writings to tell about it. “Her subversive sensational stories not only defied 19th-century values of womanhood, but also rebelled against the teachings of her father, Bronson Alcott, who believed in traditional ‘femininity’ and sentimentalism, in a search for human perfectionism.”(“Louisa” 2) Alcott truly used her life and feelings as her basis for writing, which is evident in her books. I believe that is why she turned out to be such a great writer. She wrote from her heart and wasn’t afraid to let people know who she really was.

WORKS CITED
Alexander, Lynn. “Unsexed by labor: middle-class women and the need to work.” bNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2011. . Ditchfield, Christin. Louisa May Alcott: Author of Little Women. Scholastic Inc., 2005. Print.

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